Last-minute Gift Ideas

If you still have some Christmas shopping to do, let me help. Go find a Lush store and buy anything they are selling. It’s guilt-free!

Chunk o' soap
Chunk o’ soap

My favourite is the Coalface soap. Like all their soaps, they make a huge block of the stuff and then cut off chunks. It is sold by weight and then wrapped in paper for you to take home. Very little packaging.

We men have heard about exfoliation but many of us are too cool to, you know, exfoliate. Well, with this Coalface stuff I am scraping my face with charcoal dust, man. That’s right, charcoal. There is no manlier way to exfoliate (and there are no microbeads getting washed into the ecosystem either.)

This black soap also makes a great shaving cream. Lush has stuff to smear on your face and shave with, but I prefer to shave Coalface style. It lathers very little and works great. If that weren’t enough, it’s got licorice root in it, too. So go and get some for your man!

Why am I gushing about Lush so much? Well, follow my logic.

Foam 3I discovered with my post about children’s foaming handsoap that the stuff is just watered down liquid hand soap. I added one part liquid soap to about 9 parts water and the pump ushered forth a beautiful froth.

Cheap soap & fancy soapI wrote about my big jug o’ liquid hand soap already (and how I finally finished it). If you stop to think, you realize that liquid soap is just watered down soap. What makes it convenient is how quick and clean it is., but that liquid uses much more packaging than a bar of soap. You need a plastic bottle with a pump. That larger container took up more space on the trucks and freighters it traveled in and on to get to the store. Less efficient transportation means more energy and greenhouse gases.

Why don’t we just buy soap and add the water ourselves?

Lush does sell a bunch of shower gels, shampoos and other liquid products, but they also sell shampoo pucks. These are my second favourite things in the store.

But before I tell you about the pucks, let me tell you about my day.

A little more graffiti perhaps
A little more graffiti perhaps

If you haven’t seen our bathroom lately, here is what it looks like now, which is not much different from when I first posted about it.

Two shelves emptied
Two shelves emptied

There is a very deep cabinet where we store towels, bath stuff, cosmetics, toothpastes, etc. etc. Stuff gets lost in there.

Always thinking that we will commence the renovation at any moment, I have been trying to use up crap in that cabinet for over a year.

Today, I pulled everything out. And this was while the kids were home all day. That’s how I roll.

I am proud to say we have used up almost all our shower gels and liquid shampoos and conditioners. Here is what we keep in our shower.

Shower stuff

There are two little bottles from hotels (they were going to throw them away), a salt scrub someone gave us, a body lotion someone gave us, some soap, and these four aluminum containers with Lush on them. Hmmm.

What does this say about us?
What does this say about us?

Now, I wonder what is in that cabinet.

I was going to photograph and itemize everything, but although my shopping and most of my wrapping is done, I do have to get the house ready for 19 guests on the 25th aaaaaand oh yeah, I had to feed the kids today, too.

It is incredible how much of the same type of product we accumulate. Some nice bath salts, body lotion, or foot scrub are lovely gifts to receive, but we just don’t use these fast enough. Sometimes we forget we have something (or can’t find it) and buy some more!

All done?
All done?

I wish the sheer amount of aromatherapy massage oils we own would result in more massages occurring, but it just doesn’t seem to work that way.

Hopefully, now that I have thinned out and reorganized this cabinet, we will be able to use it all up. Grant and Jen discovered a similar problem but with food waste–not knowing what is in your refrigerator means it often spoils before you can eat it. Check out their film Just Eat It.

You can refill the containers, of course
You can refill the containers, of course

Now I am ready to reveal what is in those aluminum containers. From left to right: Leanne’s solid conditioner, Leanne’s solid shampoo, my solid shampoo, and an empty container where my solid conditioner was. I might get some more conditioner but I’m not convinced I really need it. Besides, Leanne doesn’t seem to be using hers…

These solids take a second to figure out how to use. Now I simply rub the open tin on my head until it lathers. Not a bad massage, either. You will also have to learn how to open the containers when your hands are slippery. It takes a minute until you realize that they are bendable aluminum and a gentle squeeze pops it off easily.

Something else you should grab while you are in Lush is some Charity Pot body lotion. As they explain:

100% of the purchase price (every single penny minus the taxes) goes towards supporting humanitarian, environmental and animal rights causes locally and around the world.

Lush helped me clue in to the waste in packaging that is all around us. It also helped me see that good cosmetics are not that hard to make and they don’t need to have all kinds of crap in them. I followed that logic and it led me to buying stuff at our local Haney Farmer’s Market.

Lovely natural soaps
Lovely natural soaps

Heck, my neighbour, Jen, makes fantastic soaps and other stuff under the name Field to Fork. Go buy some of her stuff, too!

An abundance of soap
An abundance of soap

As I suspected, we have plenty of soap to last us at least a year. I found a few more hotel-room sized shampoos or conditioners or bodygels to use up and the kids can use them as bath toys afterwards. Really, it is the body lotions that we have too much of and you can’t re-gift it after you tried it out, can you?

People might ask me what Leanne thinks of all this cutting down on beauty products. Well, you needn’t worry about my imposing austerity on her. In fact she is blazing a trail. Leanne began washing her hair with nothing but baking soda several months ago. Sometimes, if she wants to condition it, she will rinse with vinegar.

I know, right?baking-soda

And guess what, it works just fine. She said it took a little while for her hair to adjust (whatever that means) but now it is blindly obvious that shampoos are completely unnecessary. Leanne’s hair looks and feels just as lovely as it always has and, before I start sounding like a shampoo commercial, I will leave it at that.

Merry Merry!